Strategic Processing in History and Historical Strategy Instruction

Authored by: Susan De La Paz , Jeffery D. Nokes

Handbook of Strategies and Strategic Processing

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138389939
eBook ISBN: 9780429423635
Adobe ISBN:


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Regardless of the particular field, historians use strategic processes as they work with evidence. Such cognitive strategies occur automatically during reading, thinking, speaking, and writing; not surprisingly, they involve metacognitive functions. Such thinking is linked to experts’ understanding of history, giving rise to the concept of disciplinary reasoning. It is this understanding that allows historians to generate interpretations and knowledge claims about the past. In contrast, novices’ processing shows obvious differences that reflect a lack of experience as well as general naiveté about the discipline itself. There has been much educational research on classroom interventions that have addressed these challenges—and these efforts have demonstrated notable successes in terms of scaffolding more sophisticated reasoning among novices. However, the remaining issues and limitations point to opportunities for future work. We suggest researchers attend to new topics and lines of inquiry, for example, civic engagement.

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